When Good Friendships Go Bad
This past week on Wire Talk we addressed the topic of kids and their friendships. Our very first question was from the mom of a teenage boy and man, it was a good one! She asked about what to do when the friends your child has grown up with are no longer a good influence on them.
It’s hard when your child has had a life long friend and then suddenly in middle or high school, they go their separate ways naturally or because morals and values change. Friends that have been part of your child’s life for birthday parties and sleepovers, friends they’ve navigated their elementary years with - those relationships are not easily forgotten. I dealt with this with several of my kids and if you aren’t walking through this season now, it is probably coming.
When this happens in your child’s life, the best thing you can do is to walk along side your child by listening to their broken heart and their confusion. It’s confusing when a friend chooses to go in a direction they always said they would never go. Don’t try to offer solutions or tell your child they are better off without this friend, just listen and think of what they are walking through as a grieving process, similar to what you experience after a death.
Also, as a mom, don’t discount the peer pressure these old friends will have on your child. Have a listening, empathetic ear, but also speak truth in love and grace. Role play or ask your child how they would handle the situation if this friend wanted them to do the things they are now doing. Try to get your child to articulate what they want their life to be like and why, so they are reminded of why they are making different choices from these friends.
It’s a tight rope walk for sure, but hang in there, you are not alone.